Matheusa Passarelli, student and LGTBI activist assassinated in Rio de Janeiro

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Source: Resumen Latinoamericano / The Dawn News / May 8, 2018

The Civil Police of Rio de Janeiro on May 7, concluded that 21 year old student Matheusa Passarelli was assassinated in one of the shanty towns (favelas) in the north of the city. Matehusa, was missing since Sunday, April 29. After a week of investigation, the police search team determined that her body may have been burned by drug traffickers.

Matehusa was a student of audio-visual arts at the State University of Rio de Janeiro (UERJ) and activist from an LGTBI collective, she defined herself as non-binary because she didn’t identify with male or female sex. There are suspicions that the crime was motivated by LGTBIphobia. Matehusa was the first in her family to study in university. In an interview about the UERJ crisis she said “I always wanted to study in a Public University, since childhood.”

Matehusa was last seen at the end of a party at Encantado neighborhood, Morro 18 in the northern zone of Rio de Janeiro. The police delegation investigating the case reported that Matehusa was killed in the early morning of 29th. The perpetrator of the crime has not yet been identified, nor has the motivation.

The relatives of Matehusa organized a search campaign in the shanty town (favela) and also on social media with the hashtag “Cadê Matheusa Passarelli” (Where is Matheusa Passarelli?). But the search in the disappearance zone had to be stopped so as not to “put more lives in jeopardy.” “We had to stop the search and concentrate our energies on the institution’s investigation. According to the information, my sister was executed when she entered one of the communities in the neighborhood” wrote her brother Gabriel Passarelli in an emotional message on Facebook.

The assassination takes place in a context of militarization of the city by the order of President Temer and a few months after the death of the councillor Marielle Franco. Since the two months of the arrival of the security force, according to the data from the intervention observatory, the shootings, the stray bullets and the deaths have doubled.

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